Cerebral Vascular Insufficiency supplements
Cerebral Vascular Insufficiency

  • Ginkgo biloba has been used medicinally for thousands of years. Today, it is one of the top selling herbs in the United States. Ginkgo is used for the treatment of numerous conditions, many of which are under scientific investigation. Available evidence demonstrates ginkgo's efficacy in the management of intermittent claudication, Alzheimer's/multi-infarct dementia, and "cerebral insufficiency" (a syndrome thought to be secondary to atherosclerotic disease, characterized by impaired concentration, confusion, decreased physical performance, fatigue, headache, dizziness, depression, and anxiety). Although not definitive, there is promising early evidence favoring the use of ginkgo for memory enhancement in healthy subjects, altitude (mountain) sickness, symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and reduction of chemotherapy-induced end-organ vascular damage. Although still controversial, a recent large trial has shifted the evidence against the use of ginkgo for tinnitus. The herb is generally well tolerated, but due to multiple case reports of bleeding, should be used cautiously in patients on anticoagulant therapy, with known coagulopathy, or prior to some surgical or dental procedures.
  • The main function of L-carnitine is to transfer long-chain fatty acids in the form of their acyl-carnitine esters across the inner mitochondrial membrane before beta-oxidation. In humans, it is synthesized in the liver, kidney, and brain and actively transported to other areas of the body. For example, 98% of the total body L-carnitine is confined to the skeletal and cardiac muscle at concentrations approximately 70 times higher than in the blood serum. Supplementation may be necessary in rare cases of primary carnitine deficiency, which may be caused by a defect in carnitine biosynthesis, a defect in carnitine active transport into tissue, or a defect in renal (kidney) conservation of carnitine. Known conditions of secondary deficiency of carnitine (insufficiency), in which L-carnitine is effective, include chronic stable angina and intermittent claudication characterized by distinct tissue hypoxia (low oxygen levels). Another condition that may benefit from carnitine supplementation is decreased sperm motility. Although use in preterm infants suggests carnitine supplementation may aid in maintaining or increasing plasma carnitine levels and possibly weight gain, carnitine is not routinely added to preterm total parenteral nutrition (TPN). However, soy-based infant formulas are fortified with carnitine to levels found in breast milk. In 1986, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved L-carnitine for use in primary carnitine deficiency. D-carnitine or DL-carnitine may cause secondary L-carnitine deficiency and should not be used.
  • Interest in aortic acid began in the 1960s and focused on atherosclerosis (hardening of the artieries). This was a logical place to begin research, as aortic extract is usually manufactured from the hearts of animals, usually sheep, cows, or pigs. In this extract are many substances, including aortic acid, which is a broad term encompassing several constituents. Mesoglycan, a preparation of glycosaminoglycans, is the most studied of these constituents. Although mesoglycan is found in great quantities in the heart, it is found throughout the body, primarily in the cardiovascular system. It is in all three layers of blood vessels, and is responsible for maintaining vessel structure and flexibility. One of the glycosaminoglycans in mesoglycan is heparin sulfate, which may explain why mesoglycan has shown anticoagulation effects in some clinical studies. Because mesoglycan and aortic acid are extracted from the heart, preliminary studies have focused on cardiovascular disorders, such as atherosclerosis, deep vein thrombosis, lower limb ischemia, and cutaneous necrotizing venulitis. Mesoglycan has shown the most promise in treating chronic venous ulcers and intermittent claudication. Other areas of future interest may be hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol), impaired fibrinolytic activity, and general wound healing. However, more high quality research is needed in all of these areas.
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